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Blind Alfred Reed-How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live


Published December 4, 1929


Recorded on December 4, 1929 in New York City With Blind Alfred Reed on fiddle and vocals and Arville Reed on guitar. Arville was Alfred's son. Blind Alfred was something of a protest singer, as one can gather from this selection recorded while the Wall Street crash was still fresh. However, he also had a conservative bent. In "Why Do You Bob Your Hair Girls?" he scolded flappers in light of biblical prohibitions.


1 - How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live
[MusicBrainz (recording)]
Source 78rpm>CD>MP3
Run time 3:18

Reviews

Reviewer: TJPfilms - - March 4, 2012
Subject: Timeless
I really enjoy this song on several different levels. It's amazing that it has just as much meaning behind it today as it did when it was made.

I was wanting to use this song for an antique commercial for a client. I thought that it was in the public domain, yet the copyright may be held by
"The Orchard Music, SME" Does anyone know for sure?

Reviewer: 198d - - June 26, 2010
Subject: Song lyrics
Here are the lyrics for reference:

There once was a time when everything was cheap,
But now prices nearly puts a man to sleep.
When we pay our grocery bill,
We just feel like making our will --
I remember when dry goods were cheap as dirt,
We could take two bits and buy a dandy shirt.
Now we pay three bucks or more,
Maybe get a shirt that another man wore --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, I used to trade with a man by the name of Gray,
Flour was fifty cents for a twenty-four pound bag.
Now it's a dollar and a half beside,
Just like a-skinning off a flea for the hide --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, the schools we have today ain't worth a cent,
But they see to it that every child is sent.
If we don't send everyday,
We have a heavy fine to pay --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Prohibition's good if 'tis conducted right,
There's no sense in shooting a man 'til he shows flight.
Officers kill without a cause,
They complain about funny laws --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Most all preachers preach for gold and not for souls,
That's what keeps a poor man always in a hole.
We can hardly get our breath,
Taxed and schooled and preached to death --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, it's time for every man to be awake,
We pay fifty cents a pound when we ask for steak.
When we get our package home,
A little wad of paper with gristle and a bone --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, the doctor comes around with a face all bright,
And he says in a little while you'll be all right.
All he gives is a humbug pill,
A dose of dope and a great big bill --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?
Reviewer: Journey - - May 20, 2005
Subject: Blind Alfred Reed
Blind Alfred Reed, my great-great grandfather, was considered a protest singer for songs such as Why Do You Bob Your Hair Girls? interesting considering that his daughter was a flapper. His music is an interesting blend of fiddle and voice. Sadly I inherited the bad eyes instead of talent. Alfred was later joined by his son, Arville, who played the guitar.
Reviewer: Fiddlinshim - - February 27, 2004
Subject: Alf Reed -- how Can a Poor Man Stand It?
It is very difficult to fiddle and sing at the same time, Reed was one of three old-timers who were recorded doing it well. (Leonard Rutherford, the master, and G.B. Grayson were the others.)His audience had a conservative bent, but Reed had a sense of humor -- Bobtail Number Two made fun of this song. Great stuff.
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